College Sport

A dad’s hunt for an Orioles prospect’s unique baseball card

Christmas for Eric, a building contractor from Florida, came early. He was in Georgia for a wedding and decided to open a box of 2022 Bowman Draft 1st Edition baseball cards when his brother stopped by his Florida home on the way to argue with an expensive package.

“It was cool, [like] $450,” he told Sportzshala. “But it was like, ‘You know what? Were in [a] wedding and I need Judd – that would be so great.”

The referee is Jude Fabian, an outfielder in the Baltimore Orioles truss system who was 52nd on Top 100 MLB Players in the 2022 Draft. Eric was a scout, a term in the collecting world for speculative card collecting early in his career in the hope of catapulting a minor league player to stardom. Fabian hit .333/.455/.615 over 22 games in 2022, his first pro season between rookies, singles and tall balls.

Eric was into the pack like he was 12 again when all he wanted was Dale Murphys and José Cansecos.

“It brought me back, tearing up backpacks,” Eric said. “I push through, punching [autographs] and options … and I open the pack, I paused a little.”

He saw a flash of chrome and JUDE FABIAN along the lower border. I put the card in a protective case and the loader on top, took a photo and uploaded to twitter.

“It might look like a regular chrome card,” Eric wrote of the shiny unsigned rookie card, “but when I pulled this one out, it was something special!!!!”

Someone took note of Eric’s Twitter username @23fabe23 and asked, “I suppose it’s related?”

“My son!” Eric Fabian replied, still recovering from pulling out his son’s card for the first time.

“It was my boyfriend who looked me in the face,” said Eric. “Dude, it’s very cool to see your own child … weight [that] the moment is pretty cool.”

The wedding he attended was Judd’s, the card – 1st Bowman, the first Major League Baseball license card – as positive a pre-wedding omen as any.

“Card Twitter was amazing,” said Eric. “I think [that post] scored over 104,000 views. anyone [quote-]tweeted and said ‘hey let’s help this guy find his baby cards’ and it got 108,000 views.”

Eric wanted to find more of his son—something more personal and definitely original. Twitter isn’t the most welcoming town square on the internet, but the card community is proud of Eric.

Eric knew Judd didn’t sign cards the way other prospects did, and he went to great lengths to stalk them.

“There were just a few moments where I was like, ‘OK, that’s true, I actually play professional baseball,'” said Jad Fabian, University of Florida star and 2021 and 2022 MLB second round player. draft pick, he says.

Eric bought cards for Jud and his brother Derik, a sophomore playing for the Gators, when they were growing up.

“We would be so excited to see Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols [or] Tom Brady,” said Jud, “but when I saw my card, I thought, “Well, now you are a professional athlete.”

It wasn’t fully calculated, even when he was called the first time and asked to sign the cards.

“I thought, ‘No doubt I’ll do it,'” Judd said. “You never know how a small child will grow up. [us]fans who want these cards.”

When the Fabian children were growing up – Judd was 22, Derik will be 21 in August – autographed postcards weren’t as common as they are now. Athletes now sign hundreds, if not thousands, of cards and stickers to be placed on the cards, and sometimes there are dozens of parallels in each set of cards.

Judd, fighting his way through the monotony, decided to have some fun. He began writing messages, including congratulations to his parents.

“Hey dad” he took a picture of him when he sent [in]Eric said. “He said, ‘You need to find it somewhere.’ “Hi mom,” I didn’t see the surface. Derik plays UF so he made one with his number 23. ; I heard rumors that they were smashed and someone got them, but I couldn’t find them. He did Philippians 4:13″ – I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength roughly – “His [favorite] Bible verse. “Go Gators”, “Go O’s”.

One card, signed by Jud, is dated April 5, 2022. During a night game in Gainesville against Florida A&M, Jud and Derick hit singles in the bottom of the fourth inning.

“[That’s] the coolest,” said Eric. – Pretty cool way to share [something] he did to Derik.”

Ryan Rubin, the owner of the VIP Rips card, pulled out a rookie card autographed “Hi Dad” and immediately connected Eric to the card owner.

“[At] show in Dallas, my boyfriend who handles all messages notified me of this so I told him to contact [Eric]Rubin says. The buyer seemed about to comply, would like to take part, but we answered and heard nothing. But I don’t understand why he doesn’t [sell].”

Rubin sees unique captions as a growing trend in a hobby that demands more and more ink from cover stars.

“I have seen [2021 Colorado Rockies first-round pick] Benny Montgomery and [2021 Arizona Diamondbacks first-round pick] Jordan Lowlar, they were collecting cards, and it’s like a picture,” Rubin said. [the] cards together, it’s a photograph.”

(In Montgomery’s words, “Topps, I know they weren’t thrilled about it,” Montgomery told Sportzshala’s Tom VanHaaren in July 2022. “I’m not banned from doing this, but I take comfort from that point of view.”)

“They contacted the co-owner [“Hi Dad”] card, gave him all my contact information,” Eric said in mid-January. movement.”

But then other people started contacting Eric with cards autographed by Jud Fabian.

“We were on a scavenger hunt,” he said with a chuckle.

Collecting lead cards can be costly — untapped potential is expensive — especially after the COVID-19 collecting boom.

Just before Christmas, Jud’s orange Bowman Chrome autographed card, numbered out of 25, was sold on eBay for $518. In early January, the red refractor number 5 was sold for $450. More than a dozen variants of the 2022 Bowman have been sold on eBay for over $200, and a near-perfect SGC gold refractor vehicle is currently on sale for $700.

Eric certainly bought his stake from Twitter users, but the average buyer doesn’t know Jada’s last name.

“I’ve been buying stuff on eBay and after that I’ll get a message when they see my name: Are you related?” Eric said. “Sometimes guys say, ‘Hey dude, I’ll sell you this for 60% of what they sell online if you really want it’ and I actually made a deal with a guy who just came in the mail today.”

Judd’s most expensive eBay purchase in recent memory ($1,000 asking price) is a Fabian Bowman Draft autographed printable, literally the only one of its kind in the world.

It belongs to Eric.

“[The user] I had a one-of-a-kind Jad printable and didn’t want to pay for it,” Eric said.

Eric’s trump card? Another thing that no one else had.

“I sent him an outfit autographed by Jud and he sent me a postcard.

Jude’s daily phone calls home were no longer just catching up: they were also the ledger mania in his father’s internet scavenger hunt.

“I call him every day and [ask]’cause I know there’s a Hello Dad card already,” Jud said. “I’m like, ‘How are you? Did he answer you?

As of March 1st, the Fabians still don’t have a Hello Dad card, but there are plenty of others.

“He’ll give me the news,” Jude says. “He sends me pictures of postcards from eBay, asking if people are trying to scam them. He’s like, “Is it worth it?”

Eric laughs at the way he spends money, the way he combs the yard for Easter eggs, but it’s not every day that your son becomes an MLB top 60 prospect. The estimated date for his arrival at in the Bigs is 2025. (The 2023 annual lead rankings have yet to be released, and lineups – with spring training – are still on the move. Fabian ended 2022 with the Aberdeen IronBirds, Orioles. A High-A outfit hitting .386 with a godly 0.841 hit percentage last August .)

“My wife knows about [the chase] because she sees the statements,” Eric said. “She laughed when I said that I was going to take a break for a month or two, but she understood it. Derik isn’t as into collecting or collecting memorabilia, but still thinks it’s cool. It’s not every day that you have your brother’s business card.”

The Fabians liken it to a kind of love letter from Jad, the culmination of a lifetime of investment and endless miles for the sport they love.

It also became the catalyst for a long-awaited rivalry between the siblings.

“Derick” is a 2021 high school All-American from North Marion High School in Sitra, Florida, who started 43 games as a real freshman at UF – “like, ‘Don’t worry, I’m going to send him spending money at some point,'” said Eric holding back a laugh. “Jud said, ‘Well, it would be really cool if one of those card companies came out with a card with both of us on it.’

Eric’s answer?

“Well, it’s up to you guys, isn’t it?”


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